Tugboat designs and deliveries abound  

Written by Heather Ervin
eTug tugboat charging at a port

From traditional tug designs to cutting-edge battery hybrid designs, tug orders aren’t slowing down any time soon (Credit: Crowley)

Recently delivered to Suderman & Young Towing Company in Houston, Texas, the Eva is the first in a series of three Robert Allan Ltd.-designed Rapport 2600 tugboats the company ordered from Master Boat Builders Inc. in Coden, Ala. This is just one of many tugboat designs we’ve seen lately.

The main propulsion power for the Eva is delivered by a pair of Caterpillar 3512E, EPA Tier 4 certified diesel engines, each rated at 2,213 bhp at 1,600 rpm, and driving a Schottel SRP 430FP Z-drive unit to give the vessel a free-running speed, ahead of 12.5 knots and a bollard pull ahead of 52.5 tonnes. 

The electrical plant consists of two identical John Deere 4045AFM85 diesel gensets, each with a power output of 99 ekW 480V, 3-Phase, 60 Hz. 

Ship-handling fenders at the bow consist of one tier of 36- OD by 18-inch ID cylindrical fender at the main deck level; a 20- by 18-inch W-fender below the cylindrical fender and along the sheer lines of the main deck; and 18- OD by 9-inch ID cylindrical fendering at the stern. 

“We are proud to have delivered the first of a series of three tugs for Suderman and Young,” said Rice. “They have been a great partner and we look forward to the deliveries of the Eva’s sister ships later this year.” 

The Eva is the first in a series of three Rapport 2600 tugboats being built by Master Boat Builders Inc. for Suderman & Young Towing Company in Texas (Credit: Master Boat Builders) 

“We are very excited to welcome Eva, our first of three RApport 2600s into the fleet,” said Kirk Jackson, president, Suderman & Young Towing Company. “This newest tug along with the others soon to be delivered will enhance and build upon our ability to provide excellent towing service to our customers. We appreciate our professional mariners and other team members that are an integral part of providing this outstanding customer service experience. Master Boat Builders is great to work with and they have delivered a beautiful, well-constructed tug. We look forward to future deliveries.” 

Master Boat Builders Inc. also booked a contract to build a new tugboat in addition to the three-boat series for Suderman & Young last summer. 

“We at Master Boat Builders take pride in our work and are heartened by this vote of confidence from the team at Suderman & Young,” said Garrett Rice, president of Master Boat Builders. “Suderman & Young is one of the premiere tugboat operators in the United States and we are excited to continue partnering with them to provide another quality tugboat to serve the western Gulf Coast ports.” 

The tugboat will have an overall length of 98 feet, 6 inches, beam of 42 feet, 5 inches, and produce a bollard pull of over 80 metric tonnes. The vessel will feature two Caterpillar main engines (3516E), EPA Tier 4 certified and each producing 3.500 hp, along with two Schottel Z-Drive thrusters (SRP 510FP), and a Markey Machinery Company bow winch (DEPSF-48-100). 

And in November, Master Boat Builders executed a contract to build two new tugboats for New Canaan, Conn.-headquartered Moran Towing Corporation. The two tugs will be the first that Master Boat Builders will build for Moran Towing, which traces its roots backs to 1850 and whose coast-to-coast operations today include vessel towing, bulk marine transportation, LNG support operations, and environmental recovery services. 

“We look forward to working with Master Boat on this project,” said Sean Perreault, vice president, engineering services at Moran Towing. “Master Boat has a great reputation for delivering quality equipment on a consistent basis and we hope this new contract will lead to future opportunities for collaboration between the two companies. While we have an ongoing commitment to our traditional suppliers, our demand from customers has given us the opportunity to work with new partners that we hope will become long term relationships.” 

Naval architect and marine engineering firm Crowley Engineering Services, which has a long history of designing vessels for Moran, created the design for the new tugboats which will meet United States Coast Guard Subchapter-M regulations and will be ABS classed. 

The new tugboat will have an overall length of 86 feet, a beam of 36 feet and produce a bollard pull of over 55 tonnes. The vessels will each feature twin Caterpillar 3512E main engines, EPA Tier 4 certified and each producing 2,549 hp, Kongsberg US 205S FP thrusters and a Markey Machinery Company DEPC-48 bow winch. 

“Moran is one of the most respected tugboat operators in the U.S. and we are honored they have chosen us to build their next set of tugs,” said Rice. 

Hybrid Ship Assist eTug+ 

The eTug+ has been designed for harbor and near shore applications (Credit: Crowley)

Based on what the company has learned in its construction and design of the highly anticipated eWolf tug, Crowley Engineering Services recently developed a first-in-class battery hybrid ship assist/escort tug (eTug+) for harbor and near shore applications. Utilizing electrically driven L-drives, the combination of diesel generators and a battery energy storage system offer multiple scenarios to provide economical and environmentally friendly operations, whether it be tied up at the dock, underway to assist, or conducting high speed escort operations.  

Coulston Van Gundy, vice president of construction and engineering for Crowley, told Marine Log that the vessel is targeted to be launched in 2025.  

Designed with the help of current tug operators, visibility is maximized by having large windows in the pilot house and a raised operator platform. The bridge is equipped with suitable monitoring and control equipment for intelligent maneuvering, remote operations, and future semi- and full autonomous operations.  

Power is primarily provided by two lithium-ion battery energy storage systems (BESS). Four diesel generators provide back-up power as well as charging power to the BESS. High power direct current (DC) and low power alternating current shore connections are installed on the vessel to allow charging of the BESS from shore.  

Minimum Bollard Pull is expected to be 90 short tons ahead and astern via two (2) azimuth stern drives (ASD). A Class II+, electrically driven hawser winch with slipping disc brakes forward and an anchor capstan windlass aft provide line handling capability for escort and ship assist work. Both the hawser winch and ASDs will have regenerative capability.   

The vessel is designed for offshore work as well as harbor operations. Individual staterooms are provided for a compliment of five persons with a maximum crew complement of six persons. The lower accommodations are forward, with the battery rooms and electronics room/machinery space located aft. Generators are located on the main deck to allow for ease of maintenance while deploying noise and vibration reduction strategies and technologies for maximum crew comfort. 

In January, Crowley Engineering Services achieved Platinum ISO 9001 certification. Van Gundy says this certification means, “our entire management system has achieved a high level of performance that benefits our customers, whether its traditional maritime, offshore wind or other marine engineering and construction management. It’s important to note this isn’t a single product but applies to an organization.” 

Van Gundy spoke on the development, application, and benefits of the “digital transformation” at Marine Log’s TTB 2023 event on March 7.  

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